ASVEL prevails over CSKA at home after losing big lead
LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne picked up a big victory as it tries to establish itself as a playoff contender in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague, prevailing at home 70-68 over CSKA Moscow despite squandering an 18-point lead. ASVEL built the big margin in the first quarter and watched as the visitors took the lead for the first time late in the third quarter. Elie Okobo scored 8 of ASVEL’s final 10 points, including a floater with 12.9 seconds to decide the game. Okobo ended with 14 points to lead ASVEL, which snapped a two-game losing streak to move to 4-2. Youssoupha Fall collected 12 points and 10 rebounds, David Lighty scored 10 points and Chris Jones pitched in 9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Daniel Hackett poured in 16 points for CSKA, which saw its four-game winning streak end. Its record is also now 4-2. Johannes Voigtmann added 13 points while Alexey Shved tallied 10 points and 5 assists in the loss.
Lighty scored the opening points of the game on a layup - also his first basket of the season. Lighty added a three-pointer and three-point play and ASVEL was already up 8-0. CSKA needed nearly 2 minutes before Voigtmann got their first score. Fall added two putback baskets and 2 free throws and ASVEL’s lead was double digits 14-3. Fall remained dominant at both ends: helping keep CSKA from finishing even after offensive rebounds and then putting in two more scores as the hosts lead swelled to 23-5. CSKA finally got some scoring with Hackett and Shved hitting three-pointers in pulling within 23-13. But Matthew Strazel drained a wild triple at the other end and the hosts were up 26-13 after 10 minutes.
Fall opened the second quarter with a free throw and the lead was 27-13. CSKA started to put together scores inside and outside including a Voigtmann triple and Will Clyburn layup in a 0-9 spurt to get within 27-22. ASVEL had taken the punch and responded with a 7-2 run, including Victor Wembanyama’s first-ever point in the EuroLeague from the free-throw line for a 34-24 cushion. Iffe Lundberg answered with 4 points at the other end. Wembanyama’s putback fell just before the buzzer and ASVEL led 39-30 at the break.
Jones scored 4 points for ASVEL to keep the hosts up 43-34. CSKA ended up getting some stops, Hackett hit a three-pointer and Joel Bolomboy scored 4 points to trim the margin to 43-41. Jones knocked down a three-pointer to make it 48-43, but CSKA would not stop its charge and Voigtmann hit a step-back three-pointer to knot the game at 48-48. A big Bolomboy dunk gave the visitors their first lead, 49-50. The Russian powerhouse added a 0-6 run and the advantage was 51-56, which was down to 53-56 after 30 minutes.
Strazel opened the fourth quarter with a three-pointer to even the game again. Semen Antonov came off the CSKA bench for two baskets and Lundberg hit a floater as the visitors went up 60-64. ASVEL was up for the challenge with tough defense and Okobo scored twice before Charles Kahudi tied it at 66-66 on a reverse layup. Okobo added another layup and ASVEL was back up 68-67. The next five possessions in the game came up empty - including Hackett missing 2 free throws with 41 seconds remaining. Okobo's floater gave ASVEL a 70-67 lead with 12.9 seconds to play. Clyburn was fouled with 11.7 seconds remaining and made the first free throw. He missed the second foul shot and the ball went all the way back to the baseline at the other end of the court. Clyburn ended up with it and raced the length of the floor only to miss the three-point attempt to win it.
Pivotal performer: Okobo wakes up in second half
Elie Okobo came into the game as the fourth-leading scorer in the league at 18.2 points per game But he was held to just 2 points in the first 20 minutes. Okobo woke up for the second half with 12 points - including 8 points in the final 6 minutes. The EuroLeague rookie also grabbed 4 rebounds and dished out 3 assists in the win. Chris Jones was ranked eighth in scoring at 16.0 per game, but he had just 9 points. The lack of scoring meant Okobo and Jones were unable to combine for 37 points - a statistical oddity which the duo accomplished in four of ASVEL’s first five games.
First EuroLeague points for Victor Wembanyama
One of the biggest stories around ASVEL this season was the EuroLeague debut of star prospect Victor Wembanyama. The 17-year-old talent finally returned to action after missing Rounds 2-5 and he showed hints of what he can do. He made a free throw for the first point in his career and added a putback just before the halftime buzzer for his first basket. He finished with 3 points, 3 rebounds and 1 block in 9:45 minutes. Wembanyama made just 1 of 8 shots, including missing all 3 three-point attempts.
Telling numbers: ASVEL active on the offensive glass
ASVEL came into the game ranked 16th in offensive rebounds at just 8.7 per game. TJ Parker’s team finally crashed the offensive glass to the tune of 18 offensive rebounds as ASVEL took the rebounding advantage 50-33. The first half was even more dominant at 32-16 including 13 offensive rebounds for ASVEL compared to 12 defensive rebounds for CSKA. Besides struggling under the glass, CSKA also had problems hitting three-pointers - making just 5-of-24 from long range for 20.8%.
Wednesday, October 27, 2021